Possente Spirto

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Possente Spirto :
Opinions in the style of Monteverdi and Artusi

Sabrina K. Robbins

Musicology 210 Dr. Rachel Golden October 23, 2012

Music has always and will always remain a subject of debate on some level. Throughout the years music has developed, progressed, and changed alongside mankind. There were numerous arguments as to what was considered proper and what the rules should be regarding composition during the development of music in each era. With the emergence of the Baroque era of music, the stylistic elements of homophony, alongside features such as basso continuo and a more common use of dissonance, became the norm. Prior to this development music was more structured, following contrapuntal styles and sticking to a strict tonal center. The stretch of time between the Renaissance and Baroque periods of music offered a unique perspective of the changing opinions through the treatises critiquing the current music. A famous argument of this kind took place between Giovanni Artusi and Claudio Monteverdi regarding the latter’s madrigal Cruda Amarilli. It is through the study of this treatise that it is possible to ascertain what the composers’ opinions may have been on other pieces of music through applying their criteria to analyzing other songs. Possente Spirto by Monteverdi is a piece to which these elements can be applied and a logical assumption of the feelings of both of these composers can be reached.

Artusi, a composer and music critic, was deeply rooted in the theoretical concepts of the Renaissance era of music, and outwardly condemned the emergence of the new styles in the Baroque era. He was...
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